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Marshall Tucker Band

Posted by Richard on October 15, 2011

Time for another weekend trip down musical memory lane. The second-best southern rock band ever (right behind the original Allman Brothers Band) was the 70s-era Marshall Tucker Band, with brothers Toy and Tommy Caldwell. Their unique blend of rock, country, jazz, and blues changed rock 'n roll forever, and it saddens me that they're largely forgotten and under-appreciated. That they haven't been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is unforgivable.

I hope you enjoy the following songs as much as I do. If so, you may want to pay a visit to Original Marshall Tucker Band.  

The first song on the first Marshall Tucker Band album (self-titled, 1973), "Take the Highway," showcased what made MTB special: the marvelous song writing and guitar playing of Toy Caldwell and the signature flute riffs (by Jerry Eubanks), unique and unexpected from a southern rock band, and yet so perfectly fitting.

[YouTube link]

"Can't You See" is the second song from that album. Here's a live performance featuring a young Toy Caldwell. He was one of the finest thumb-picking guitar players ever. 

[YouTube link]

"This Ol' Cowboy" may be my favorite MTB song. It's from their third album, Where We All Belong (1975), and it has a great foot-tapping Western swing flavor to it that always puts a smile on my face. Toy Caldwell sings lead (and wrote it, of course) and does some great guitar work. I especially like the way the guitar and flute follow each other note for note. Charlie Daniels contributed some fine fiddling, and I think that's Paul Hornsby on the piano. 

[YouTube link]

The other strong contender for my favorite MTB song is "Fire on the Mountain" from their fourth album, Searchin' for a Rainbow (1975). It was written by rhythm guitarist George McCorkle — one of the few songs they recorded that wasn't by Toy Caldwell. Dickey Betts provided the guitar solo on this one.

[YouTube link]

I'll end with a hard-rocking live version (from the Carolina Dreams Tour '77 DVD) of another great MTB song, "24 Hours at a Time." I generally prefer the somewhat slower-tempo studio version, but this one's a must-see. Don't let the slightly muddy sound and photo montage at the beginning turn you off. The first two minutes of the original recording were damaged and had to be reconstructed for the DVD, but the remaining 12 minutes of this extended jam are live footage, and excellent quality considering the age. Starting at around 3:00, it features about five minutes of simply amazing guitar work by Toy Caldwell, with his brother Tommy on bass next to him, matching him lick for lick (watch their thumbs fly!). I'm worn out just from watching!

[YouTube link]

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One Response to “Marshall Tucker Band”

  1. Rick Shultz said

    I couldn’t agree more. MTB should have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


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